Back when, Tory Burch was warned. “Every chief executive officer had always told me there would be an inflection point of 10 years in business,” she said back stage before her show. “And I realized we’d hit that inflection point.” That was three years ago, give or take. Since then, Burch has been working in a constant state of reevaluation, “rethinking the whole company and focusing on investing, not expanding.”
Nothing has been off-limits, including an intense exploration of the relationship between e-commerce and physical stores and how to make them more synergistic in this swiftly changing world. But, at the heart of it all: product. “At the end of the day, it’s about product,” she said. “If you don’t have the right product and it’s not evolving in interesting ways, then nothing else matters.”
For spring, mission accomplished, big-time, as Burch made all the right moves. And move she did, to a venue way off the beaten fashion track — the garden of the Cooper Hewitt Museum uptown in Carnegie Hill, its already lovely green enclave redesigned into a vibrant manageable green maze by Miranda Brooks. The setting proved a perfect backdrop for the clothes that worked that stylish precipice between urbane casual and beachy chic — with just a dollop of unselfconscious bohemia.
The starting point: the work of the legendary interior decorator David Hicks. Through a friendship with his son Ashley, Burch gained access to his library. In the annals of fashion collaborations, this one is almost a “duh.” The portfolios of Hicks and Burch pulse with a mutual love for pattern, color and joie de vivre, so the pairing felt as natural as the morning sun that shone (luckily) over the garden. Burch pilfered Hicks’ various floral and geometric motifs for dresses and tunics, keeping her shapes simple, but with enough diversity to keep things interesting. Her T-shirts and caftans shared attention with appealing variations on the wrapdress. Yet all was printed. Burch took a smart respite with some easy separates looks. And she reimagined one of Hicks’ geometrics as a white-and-black guipure lace for the bodice of a languid dress that conjured a latter-day Jordan Baker. It all made for delightful viewing, a fine rendering of polished ease.